Aeroplan deal inches closer
The Canadian Press - Jan 08 - Business Buzz

Photo: The Canadian Press

Shareholders of Aimia Inc. have voted to sell its Aeroplan loyalty program to an Air Canada-led consortium.

The $450-million deal will see Air Canada buy Aeroplan for cash and assume $1.9 billion in liabilities to points holders, partially backed by two banks that offer Aeroplan credit cards.

Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will pay Air Canada about $1.2 billion in total, on top of an undisclosed payment from Visa Canada Corp. The banks and Visa have agreed to stay with the loyalty program until at least 2030.

Air Canada has said Aeroplan members will see their points transferred to a new loyalty program with the airline when its partnership with Aimia expires in 2020.

Analysts say the deal will give Air Canada better access to customer data and likely boost margins in the near term. Aimia, a loyalty analytics company, will come away with more than $1 billion in cash, according to Mittleman Brothers, the company’s largest stakeholder at 17.6 per cent.

Aimia shareholders formalized their approval in a vote in Montreal on Tuesday morning, following regulatory clearances from Ottawa in November. The deal, reached in principle last August, is expected to close this month.


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